Dec 5, 2018
Want to Influence How Federal Horticulture Research Dollars Are Spent?By Tim Hodson

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is looking for volunteers to be reviewers of Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) proposals.

This is your opportunity to help influence how federal research dollars are spent on consumer horticulture.

Anyone who works in any aspect of horticulture is eligible to be a reviewer.

“The National Institute for Consumer Horticulture is asking everyone in the industry to spend just a few hours of their time to review SCRI proposals. Doing so helps grow our industry and connect more people and plants, and you’ll also grow from the experience,” said Casey Sclar, inaugural chair of NICH.

Volunteers will be given proposals covering topics closely related to their expertise to read, evaluate and prepare brief comments on to determine its relevancy.  When reviews are complete, the panel will decide which proposals will be invited to submit a full application. The review process involves 20-25 hours of volunteer time. No travel is required; email and conference calls are used.

“We need more people with expertise in consumer horticulture on these panels or proposals relevant to consumer horticulture won’t get through the pre-proposal initial stages,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of Urban Ag Council.

To learn more or to sign up, please visit: You can also contact Tom Bewick, National Program Leader at [email protected].

— Tim


Whole Foods Foundation Helps Fund Children’s Nutrition, Gardens and Wellness Programs

Whole Foods Market’s Whole Kids Foundation recently raised $3.9 million through its annual Growing Healthy Kids campaign to fund K-12 school programs geared toward improving children’s nutrition and wellness. Donations will serve more than 500,000 students in 1,000 schools, funding approximately 600 school gardens, 400 school salad bars and 100 bee hive grants. The funds also will support health and wellness training for more than 2,000 educators with its Healthy Teacher program. Whole Foods Market covers all of the foundation’s operational costs, so 100 percent of the funds directly supports the Foundation’s programs that give schoolchildren better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educate them about where their food comes from.

Lowe’s to Exit Mexico

Last month, Lowe’s management announced that the company intends to exit its Mexico retail operations and is exploring other strategic alternatives. The company has also identified certain non-core activities within its U.S. home improvement business to exit, including Alacrity Renovation Services and Iris Smart Home. These actions are in addition to the previously announced decisions to exit its Orchard Supply Hardware operations, and close 20 under-performing stores in the U.S. and 31 stores and facilities in Canada. “With our strategic reassessment substantially completed, we can now intensify our focus on the core retail business,” said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.

Walmart Donates Millions to Worker Training Programs

Walmart has committed more than $4 million to help launch 10 new retail sector partnerships in Colorado. Through each of these public-private partnerships, representatives from workforce boards, economic development and education will work with retail employers in the community to design upskilling and training programs that support career advancement for frontline workers and can be a model for workforce development organizations across the U.S. The contribution to the Colorado Workforce Development Council is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s five-year, $100 million Retail Opportunity Initiative.

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.
Ben Vliestra
Sidney Phelps
Jennifer Moss
Daniel Norden
W. Garrett Owen
Jessica Montgomery
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Nikki Melin

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